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Punishing rap with classical.. and degrading both

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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2008

If you like classical or rap music or both, you should also be disgusted to hear stories like this where a judge ‘punishes’ an offender for playing loud music (usually rap) by having to listen to classic music.  Sad to say, this ain’t an isolated incident.  Classical music is also being used in certain London subway stations to root out antisocial behavior.  What’s the message here?


The same idea’s at work- supposedly, classical music will wipe out criminal urges.  Any studies to prove that?  Who cares?


What it’s also saying is that classical music is something forced on you if you’re bad.  If you listen to rap, your punishment is that you have to listen to classical?  Classical music has enough problems with getting through to more people and not having it made synonymous with discipline.  Or how about using classical music to drive away people in subway stations?  Again, what kind of message is that sending?


Of course, classical music can be blasted too.  Beethoven’s Fifth makes a nice ear-bending experience, not to mention Wagner (I recommend “Lohengrin”). Is there gonna be any punishment for that?


Another reason that this kind of short-sighted policy doesn’t make sense is that it assumes that only miscreants hate classical music.  In the case of the stupid judge, why did he have to pick classical music to teach the offender a lesson?  If you want to be functioning member of society, does that mean you have to like classical music?  Does it also mean that rap is necessarily bad and needs to cleansed out of you with classical music?  What would the hip-hop orchestra called dAKAH have to say about that?  And for the UK subway stations that play classical, what if I’m not a miscreant but I also don’t want to hear classical music while I’m waiting for my train?  Tough luck I guess…


What it comes down to in both cases is that classical is considered the ‘civilizing’ music but it also comes off as being imposed on you whether you like or not.  Not the best way to get people to appreciate the music.  It also stinks of condescension, saying that ‘we can rehabilitate you with classical music’ or ‘we can drive away all the baddies with classical music’ or ‘no one civilized would be turned off by classical music.’  For the court case, it also makes the assumption that rap music has to be countered by something ‘more civilized.’

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